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The Whole Armor of God

Christians are in a battle. It’s a battle that cannot be escaped or avoided against an enemy we cannot see. Those who confess Jesus as Lord and have the Spirit of God within them through faith in Jesus as Savior should understand this truth: Satan will do everything he can to destroy your faith. That’s why believers are told to “stand firm” against the enemy’s schemes (Ephesians 6:13).

So how do we fight this battle? How do we overcome Satan’s attacks?

In Ephesians, Paul lists seven pieces of spiritual armor for us to take up in our battle against Satan. When Paul talks about the spiritual armor, he is explaining how to apply the Gospel to our lives. Putting on the armor of God is another way of saying we should clothe ourselves in the Word of God.

Just as a soldier’s entire body is covered with armor, so should the Word cover our entire lives. The Word of God is your greatest defense against Satan, because where the Scriptures have fortified you, Satan cannot attack you. Cover your life in the gospel—and overcome Satan himself!

Paul first tells us to “Take up…the belt of truth” (Ephesians 6:13-14). We tend to think of truth primarily as a what, but in Scripture, it is first a who (John 14:6). Paul is saying to us, “Gird yourself up with Jesus. Stand firm in your identity in Christ.”

What the Belt of Truth Means

The typical attire for people in New Testament times was a light robe. If you were a solider, or if you had some other strenuous work to perform that required freedom of movement, this garment would present a problem.  A long robe would make it very difficult to move quickly and freely. Soldiers, runners, and other laborers would use a belt to fasten all the excess fabric more tightly to their body.  That’s why the older translations of Ephesians 6:14 (such as the KJV) say something like, “Gird up your loins with truth.” This belt served to free the wearer's legs so he could be be ready for action. This was probably the first thing a soldier would do in putting on armor—fasten his belt.  With his garments fastened into place by the belt, he could put on all the other armor.

The Truth in the Belt

Earlier in Ephesians 4:21, Paul explained that the truth was found in Jesus. He wrote, “…assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus…” Truth flows from Jesus, the King of the Universe. He created all things. So any truth finds its source in Jesus Christ. Paul is not just drawing on Roman armor, but on Christ as the fulfillment of the prophecy of the divine warrior who came to rescue God’s people. This is established firmly by the prophet Isaiah, who wrote, "…truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking…The Lord saw it, and it displeased him…then his own arm brought him salvation…He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak (Isaiah 59:14-17)."

Isaiah wrote that truth had stumbled in the public squares. He was saying that truth was lacking. The Lord’s answer to the absence of truth was the Messiah, Jesus! So, the “truth” in “belt of truth” is Christ Himself (Ephesians 4:21, Isa 59:14-17).

How do you fight Satan with the Belt of Truth? The answer begins by each of us asking ourselves this question:  Who or what has the final say in my life?

* When it comes to decisions I’m making

* When it comes to how I navigate my relationships

* When it come to how I parent my children

* When it come to how I work my job

* When it come to how I worship and believe

...who or what has the final say in my life?

  • Is it my feelings?  Do I simply do whatever I want to do?

  • Is it a person?  Do I simply do whatever my boss, my friends, my spouse, or my children want me to do?

  • Is it my culture?  Do I simply do whatever aligns with the way the world works and thinks today?

  • Is it comfort?  Do I simply do whatever is easiest and causes me the least amount of trouble?

To fasten on the belt of truth is to give Christ the final say in our lives (v. 14). That is how we are to fight our battles against sin and all the evil in this world. Let Jesus have the final say in your life.

Does Christ have the final say in your life?  Is he the ultimate truth in your life? (Thanks to Tom Olson and J.D. Greear for their words, thoughts, and inspiration on this topic.)

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